Saturday, May 09, 2009

Spring reflections

click photo to enlarge
Several years ago my wife wanted to sew some cross-stitch pictures. She'd tried her hand at a few subjects, but wanted to get her teeth into a bigger project. I'd designed the first of her pieces using graph paper, coloured crayons and a list of the available coloured threads, so I had the task of coming up with a subject. Eventually we settled on "The Four Seasons". It meant embarking on 4 separate pictures, and designing a themed subject for each. I eventually decided on a design that incorporated the name of the season written in the centre, with birds and plants that I found characteristic of that season and personally significant to me, disposed around the edge.

For spring I placed a tortoiseshell butterfly in the centre on blue forget-me-nots with daisies nearby. To the left I had a lapwing standing over its nest of four eggs, with yellow celandines adjacent, and to the right a wheatear stood on a lichen covered piece of limestone. Flying above were curlews, sand martins and swallows, a cuckoo, and a hovering, singing skylark. The top left and top right corners featured a willow and a mountain ash. As someone who grew up in the Yorkshire Dales these were all important markers of spring for me - with the exception of the willow which is more of a lowland plant that comes into leaf early, but one I had grown to admire.

If your abode is in the city your markers of spring are very different, as I came to realise when I lived in one. Women's dress (and the amount of visible flesh), the colour of the sky and the fluffiness of the clouds, the light green of the leaves, the harlequin colours from the flowerbeds, and the smell of mown lawns are much more important. If you have a park or river nearby then ducklings might feature too. The other week I was in Peterborough and photographed this quite interesting office building. It had an undulating glass curtain wall and pieces of concrete that delineated the rooms and floors. What attracted me to it, however, was its reflections - the soft green of the trees, the blue sky and the wispy white clouds that all said spring - spring in the city.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 22mm (44mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On